Lessons and Carols

By Not Known

Today’s service of lessons and carols brings the whole sweep of the Christian faith before us. This is a good
reminder Of how the birth of Jesus fits into the biggest story of them all – the stoy of a sovereignly gracious God
reaching down to restore his creation to himself.

The Bible tells a stoy of a kingdom made, lost and regained.

The creation stories tell of God’s kingdom ‘made’. There we read of God’s people living in God’s place (Eden)
and under his rule.

Sadly, this kingdom was ‘lost’, as we read in Genesis 3. God’s people wanted to live in his place but to live
under self-rule. The consequence was just what we would expect. God removed them from his place and their
special status as his people came under a cloud. As Gen 3 ends, we have just the faintest glimmer of God’s
kingdom left.

God then did what we would not expect. He made promises to restore his kingdom, starting with his declaration
to Abraham of a people, a place and a blessing on and through them.

The ‘regaining’ of God’s kingdom was first seen in David’s Old Testament kingdom. God’s people were in his
promised land and under the rule of his anointed king. But David was just a man. This king failed God and his
people and so the kingdom gradually faded away under David’s successors.

But God was not fnished. Through prophets such as Isaiah God promised a new era with a new deal. God
Would act to bring a new display of his faithfulness and mercy through a new covenant and a new king.

As the birth stories tell and our carols celebrate, that new covenant and king are seen in Jesus. He is the one
sent from God to save through his Cross and to rule through his word. The Old Testament problem of
unchanged hearts is fixed by Jesus’ gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The end result of this is the regaining of God’s kingdom. We see it now as God’s saving rule takes hold of
someone’s life is Christian conversion and sanctifcation. And we will see it ‘then’ as Christ comes again in the
fullness of kingly gloy and to consummate the kingdom established in his Cross and rising.

With all this good news, it’s no wonder that we sing carols at this season!